When Steve Stricker reaches into the ball pocket on his golf bag, he knows exactly what he's getting: A Titleist Pro V1x golf ball. Every time.
For Adam Scott, it's always a Titleist Pro V1. Same for K.J. Choi. For Rory McIlroy? Pro V1x, every time.
Top amateur golfers subscribe to the same philosophy, choosing to play the same brand and model golf ball every time they play or practice, whether it's on the course, a practice green or in a short-game area.
The reason is simple: Changing the golf ball changes every shot.
And if you want to shoot lower scores and consistently play your best golf, one of the first steps is knowing what to expect out of your golf ball on each and every swing.
What does your golf ball pocket look like?
"Consistency starts with knowing how the golf ball is going to perform," says Bill Morgan, Senior Vice President of Titleist Golf Ball R&D.
"We play with the same driver, the same irons, the same putter during the course of the round, but a lot of golfers think nothing of pulling out a different golf ball than what they started with and playing their next shot with it. .... Unless you're prepared for that and skilled enough to change your swing, you're going to get a different result."
Through extensive player and robot testing, Morgan says, the R&D team has found "dramatic differences in golf ball performance on shots into the green from brand to brand to brand."
For example, say you're hitting a short iron into a green. What's the goal? Hitting it as close to the pin as possible, if not in the hole. The closer you hit it to the pin, the better your chances of making the putt and lowering your score.
Executing that shot consistently not only requires a good swing, but knowing how your golf ball is going to react when it hits the putting surface.
"Does it hit and stop? Does it bounce a couple times before checking up? That sort of reliance and that confidence in your golf ball can really start to alter the rest of your game," says Titleist Golf Ball Fitter Michael Collins.
Accordingly, here are a couple easy New Year's resolutions you can add to your list, courtesy of Mike Gibson, Manager of Titleist Golf Ball Fitting.
"First, make sure you have been properly fit for the best golf for your game," he says. "Second, stick to that golf ball for the season. For casual rounds and tournament rounds. On the practice green before a round. Even if you're just hitting pitches in your backyard."
Titleist's green-to-tee ball fitting methodology is based on the fact that most scoring opportunities are created by shots into the target, and improving your game in those areas will have the most game-changing affects.
"As you learn how your golf ball performs in various situations, you also gain the confidence necessary to hit more greens and get the ball closer to the pin," Gibson says. "Whether you're a tour pro or a 15-handicap, you're going to make shorter putts more often. Who doesn't want to make more putts?"
Step one: Taking a look in your golf ball pocket.
To begin the Titleist Performance Golf Ball Fitting process yourself, click here.